The 3 Day Military Diet is one of the most popular quick weight loss diet plans in the world.
It is claimed to help you lose 10 pounds in 3 days without exercise, while eating ice cream, hot dogs, eggs, cheese, meat etc…
Unlike the other diet plans, the 3 days military diet plan is budget friendly and the good thing is that you don’t have to subscribe to any expensive programs or purchase expensive food or dietary supplements.
All the foods mentioned in the three day military diet menu are commonly found in every household.
But does the 3 day diet actually work or it is just some fad diet? Read this article to know everything about the program.
What is the Military Diet?
Before going into the details of the 3 day diet, the first thing I would like you to know is that the military diet, as claimed by many, is not designed by the nutritionists in the US military for the soldiers. If anyone says so, don’t believe in them.
A CNN reporter interviewed a few US Military officials, including a nutrition specialist and asked them about their opinions on the 3 day military diet.
According to the report, the officials said they did not even heard of any such diet and maintained that the diet plan was not developed by them.
It is just a low calorie weight loss diet that helps you lose a significant amount of weight in a span of 1 week or 7 days.
During the first 3 days of the military diet, you’ll be eating only the suggested foods, which help you lose weight and on the remaining 4 days off, you’ll be eating either the 1200 calorie meal plan (for women) or the 1500 calorie meal plan (for men) in order to maintain your lost weight.
Bottom Line: The Military Diet aka Army Diet aka Ice Cream Diet is a 3 day low calorie weight loss diet followed by a 4 day maintenance diet menu. Due to the lower calorie consumption, you’ll lose weight for sure.
How Much Weight Can You Lose on The 3 Day Military Diet?
On an average, the dieters will lose anywhere from 7 to 10 pounds in a span of 7 days. But, do note that the end weight loss results varies from one individual to another depending on age, health, current weight, fitness activity level etc…
How Does the Military Diet Plan Work?
As I said above, the 3 day military diet menu is split into two phases, which lasts for 1 week or 7 days.
During the first three days of the diet, you’re allowed to eat low calorie meals 3 times a day with no snacks. On an average, you’ll be getting roughly 1000 to 1300 calories/day on the military diet.
And, during the remaining 4 days of the week (from day 4 to 7), you’re free to have a healthy meal plan comprising of no more than 1500 calories per day.
Bottom Line: There is a calorie restriction on the first 3 days of the diet plan to help you lose weight. The remaining 4 days off meal plan will help in maintaining the lost weight.
How Many Times Can You Follow the Military Diet?
People usually repeat the diet (3+4 days) several times until they reach their weight loss goal.
However, I would personally recommend that you give at least a week gap before following the next session.
Say for example, you followed the diet this week and lost some weight. Then, you just have to eat normally for the next week and can start the diet in the 3rd week and so on… until you reach your target weight.
Below is the exact 3 day food meal plan you should follow during the first 3 days of the army diet.
Military Diet Day 1 Meal Plan
This is the day 1 military diet meal plan. It contains around 1,300 calories.
- 1 slice of Wholegrain toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
- 1/2 Grapefruit.
- 1 cup of coffee or tea.
- A slice of whole grain toast.
- 1/2 cup of Tuna.
- 1 cup of coffee or tea.
- 3-Oz (85 grams) serving of any meat
- 1 cup of green beans.
- 1 small apple.
- 1/2 banana.
- 1 cup Vanilla ice cream.
Military Diet Day 2 Meal Plan
Here is what you should be eating on the three day military diet day 2 menu. It contains around 1,100 calories.
- 1 slice of toast (whole grain).
- 1 hard-boiled egg.
- 1/2 banana.
- 1 hard-boiled egg.
- A cup of cottage cheese.
- 5 saltine crackers.
- 2 hot dogs without bun.
- 1/2 cup of carrots and 1/2 cup of broccoli.
- ½ banana.
- 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream.
Military Diet Day 3 Meal Plan
Here is the breakdown of day 3 menu. It contains around 1,000 calories.
- 1 slice of cheddar cheese.
- 5 saltine crackers.
- A small apple.
- 1 slice of toast.
- One egg (hard boiled or cooked according to your likes)
- A cup of tuna.
- 1/2 banana.
- 1 cup of vanilla ice cream.
In addition to the three day military diet plan menu, it is advised to drink as much water as you can (at least 3 to 4 liters per day).
If you’re a coffee addict, you can have it as long as you don’t add any sugar, milk or cream, which spikes up your calorie intake and thus spoils your diet.
As mentioned earlier, this is the phase 2 of the Ice cream diet, where you’ll be eating healthy, but limiting your calorie intake to just 1500 calories per day. Women can go down up to 1200 calories per day.
The only rule of thumb is to avoid any fast foods and include only healthy foods like vegetables, fruits and protein.
Foods Allowed During the First 3 Days of Military Diet
Here is a list of foods that are allowed as part of the the military diet menu plan:
- Whole Wheat Toast
- Cottage/Cheddar Cheese
- Grapefruit, Apples and Bananas
- Eggs, Tuna Fish, Meat of any kind
- Green Beans, Broccoli, Carrots
- Peanut butter
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- Black Coffee (without sugar or cream); Stevia is allowed
- Saltine Crackers
Foods to Avoid While on The Military Diet Program
Even several healthy foods have to be avoided on the 3 day diet as they increase the overall calorie intake and may cause weight gain. The list includes:
- Whole grains, legumes or beans
- Fruits or vegetables other than those allowed on the plan
- Added fats, such as Butter, Ghee or Oil
- All sweeteners that contain calories
- All condiments or beverages that contain calories
3 Day Military Diet Review
This Three Day Military Diet review is like a beginner’s guide where you’ll be knowing all the basics about the quick weight loss program along with pros and cons.
Since the Military diet is a low calorie regime, people will definitely lose weight. Due to the energy deficit, the body utilizes the stored fat for energy and help you shed pounds.
However, a lot of people will also put the weight back once they’re back to their regular eating habits. So, it is highly advised to know about the basics of the diet before trying the program.
1.This is a Low Calorie Diet:
On an average, men burn around 2000 calories per day and a woman burns around 1800 calories a day without performing any strenuous activities like going to the GYM or doing cardio etc… That is what their basal metabolic rate is supposed to do. Whereas the military diet provides you with less than those suggested by your BMR.
You usually get less than 1000 calories per day on the military diet plan. So, your body will compensate the missing calories by burning the stored fat in your body, thereby helping you lose weight.
2.The Military Diet is Partly an Intermittent Fasting:
Not just the military diet, any diet that provides you with less than 1000 calories a day is a form of fasting. There is a myth that says fasting is an unhealthy practice. But, it is completely wrong. Fasting for a period of time will help in lowering the IGF-1 levels, which are similar to Insulin.
Here the lower levels indicate only goods like increased metabolism, longevity and lesser diabetic risk. When our body finds the decrease in the IGF-1 levels, it enters into a fat burning machine, thereby letting you lose more pounds than usual.
3.Military Diet Menu Boosts Metabolism:
Most of the foods that are suggested in the military diet menu are proven to boost your metabolism, thereby promoting fat burn. Say for example, the caffeine from Coffee slightly improves your metabolism for up to 2 hours after drinking.
The calcium from cottage cheese and ice cream help in burning more fat. Likewise, the high protein sources like eggs, tuna, peanut butter and meat, usually require more energy to process them and so the body is forced to burn more energy (fat) to digest those foods.
In the same way, Grapefruit is another food suggested in the military diet menu and turns the liver into a fat burning machine. Pectin is another ingredient which limits the ability of your cells to absorb any fat. It is found heavily in Apples.
So, almost all the foods that are recommended in the military diet have been proven to kick-start your metabolism and thereby turn your body into a fat burning machine.
Apart from these, vegetables are also suggested in the diet as they’re rich in fiber content and contain very less calories and carbohydrates. So, you don’t have to worry about them at all.
Although, the above facts prove that the 3 day military diet does work, there are still a few confusions among the people. So, let us look into them one by one.
4.Is It the Water Weight that I Lose on the Military Diet?
A lot of the diet programs these days help you lose around 15 pounds in a week, but all that you’re losing is the water weight and not the body fat. People who lose weight by following such weight loss diets will surely get back all their lose weight within no time.
Fortunately, the military diet is not of such kind, as it emphasizes on burning more calories by creating a calorie deficit. Of course, you may also lose some water weight through this diet, but that is the effect of a healthy diet.
5.Are My Weight Loss Results Permanent on the Military Diet?
Unfortunately, there is no word like ‘permanent weight loss’ in any dictionary. It is impossible to achieve permanent results unless until you follow a healthy lifestyle for your life. So, even if you lose some pounds doing the military diet or any other diet for that matter, you’ll regain it once you get back to your regular/unhealthy eating patterns.
So, in order to keep your weight off, it is always advised to eat/maintain < 2000 calories a day. Anything above the 2000 calories and you’ll end up gaining weight again.
Of course, it also depends on your daily activities. In case you’re burning more than 2000 calories a day through different activities like running, exercising, etc., then your case might differ from the rest.
6.Will I Starve During the 3 Day Military Diet?
This is one of the biggest myths of the military diet. Our body enters into the starvation mode only if we go beneath the 1000 calorie mark per day for at least a week continuously. Fortunately, you’ll be getting more than 1000 calories per day through the military diet and that too only for 3 days a week.
On the remaining 4 days, you can follow the high protein, low calorie diet so that you can lose up to 10 pounds in a week. It is suggested to include either the 1500 calorie meal or the 1200 calorie diet for maintaining your lost weight.
7.Is the Military Diet Expensive?
Absolutely not! Almost half of the ingredients are found in your kitchen already and the remaining foods can be easily bought from any local grocery store for less. Since, there are no special or magic ingredients in this diet; you don’t have to shell out more for losing pounds.
All being said, it is just a 3 day diet + 4 day maintenance period that helps you lose up to 10 pounds in 7 days guaranteed. So, it is just three days of your life for the military diet, and you won’t be losing anything except unwanted weight. Why not give it a try?
8.This isn’t Just a Three Day Diet:
You’ll need to follow a calorie restricted diet plan both during the ‘on’ and ‘off’ days i.e., 3 days weight loss diet and 4 days maintenance diet. But, if you’re already eating healthy, I suggest you to avoid the military diet and just reduce the intake of calories from your current regime. The diet is only advised and/or best works for extremely obese people.
Pros and Cons of the Military Diet
Like every diet plan, this 3 days diet also have both pros and cons. Let us look at them in detail.
- Gives Quick Weight Loss Results: To maintain their weight, Adult men need around 2000 to 2500 calories per day, while the women need around 1500 to 2000 calories per day. And, you get roughly 900 to 1100 calories on the military 3 day diet. So, the deficit calories will be taken from your body fat, thus resulting in quick weight loss.
- High Protein Foods Helps Control Appetite: No matter what you weight goal is, it is highly advised to include protein in your menu as it helps in building muscle and at the same time losing weight by controlling your appetite. Since the military diet foods are high in protein content, it helps you stay fuller for longer periods.
- Includes Veggies and Fruits: The diet plan includes vegetables like carrots, green beans and broccoli, which contain good fiber along with fruits like Banana, Grapefruit and Apple. You don’t have to worry about sweet tooth. Just munch on these fruits.
- Easy & Cost-Effective: Food preparation is very easy and also affordable.
- No Extended Commitment Needed: Just 3 days of low calorie & 4 days of moderate calorie meal plan is enough.
- No decision making to choose foods: The diet suggests the foods you should eat for all the three days.
De-merits or Side Effects
- Too Low in Calories May Cause Starvation Mode: If you consume low amount of calories for a longer period of time, then it will trigger a ‘starvation mode’ response. It is a state where your metabolic rate starts to slow down and hence your body burns less calories. So, trying the military diet continuously for several weeks might do some great damage to your metabolism and is also not advisable. It is recommended to do once or twice a month with a gap of at least 1 week in between two sessions.
- Weight Loss is Temporary: As we said earlier, it is just a low calorie diet plan to lose weight quickly. You’ll regain some or all of the lost weight once you start eating normally. So, try to stick to a healthy diet once you’ve finished the military diet program.
One main point to be remembered is that the diet works differently for each of us, depending on the person’s metabolism and the type of diet you’ve followed before starting this one.
For example, I’ve followed this diet along with my friend (male) and while I lost around 8.5 pounds in the first try, he just lost 6 pounds. So, you should always understand that the number of pounds you lose depends on several factors such as age, metabolism, activity levels etc…
The final and the most important point to be remembered is to avoid any fast foods both while on the diet and after completion of the diet. Once you lost the weight, try to maintain it by eating healthy.
The sole purpose of this diet is to teach you how to control the food portions while eating different foods you like.
So, after completion of the diet, it depends on your lifestyle whether you could maintain the results or not. Eat healthy, be active and stay healthy.
3 Day Military Diet Food Substitutions
Not everyone could eat all the foods and hence you’re allowed to replace any food in the 3 day diet military menu with foods that contain the same number of calories and nutrients.
For example, you can swap 1 cup of Tuna for a handful of almonds. This is good for vegetarians too. Also find the Vegetarian Military Diet Plan.
Not a fan of grapefruit? Don’t worry! Just add ½ tsp of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it. It has the same fat-burning benefits as the grapefruit.
Here is the complete list of Military Diet Substitutions allowed on the 3 day diet.
Is the Military Diet Safe? Are the Weight Results Sustainable?
Since the actual diet lasts for just 3 days, it is safe for an average person.
But, if you start following it vigorously for a continued period of time (for months at a time), then you may be in trouble due to lack of nutrients from such low calorie diet plans. So, don’t put yourself at risk by doing so.
My personal advice: You can do it for a week, leave a gap of 3 to 4 days and then start it again. Don’t skip the four day off meal plan (Phase II), which is very crucial in helping you stay healthy.
And coming to the sustainability, you can’t keep the weight off for long as this short-term diet isn’t helping you to change your eating habits. So, the weight loss results won’t last much longer if you go back to your regular eating habits.
Bottom Line: The three day Military diet is safe, but not meant to be followed for months at a time. Maintenance is the key to any long term weight loss results. Stick to a healthy eating lifestyle and you’ll definitely be able to maintain your weight.
Can You Really Lose 10 pounds in a week?
Yes, you can lose 10 pounds or 4.5 kg in a week, but it varies from one individual to another depending on several factors like age, health conditions, metabolism, excess weight etc…
And as I said earlier, losing weight is easy, but maintaining is the toughest part.
Military Diet Tips to Get the Best Weight Loss Results
Here are a few do’s and don’ts to get much better results.
- Start your day by drinking at least ½ to 1 liter of water. This will deal with cravings and thus help you avoid any unnecessary snacks.
- Pack your refrigerator with our grocery list before starting the diet so that you don’t have to get stressed out what foods to eat. This makes the dieting easier.
- You can practice the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle while following the 3 day military diet plan. This helps in improving your weight loss results further.
- Exercising will help you lose more weight compared to just diet alone. But, it is only advised to start heavy workouts during the phase II, as you’ll be having less strength on the first 3 days due to low calorie consumption. However, you can do regular jogging, walking or running on a treadmill along with some yoga and meditation during the phase I.
- Get a diet buddy and it will help you get motivation to continue (or stick to) the diet without failure. It is much better if the buddy is your family member.
- Don’t drink any alcoholic or sweet drinks as they contain nothing but empty calories. Instead, drink a glass of warm water with ½ slice of lemon (juice) whenever you feel of wanting a drink.
Final Verdict: Does the Military Diet Actually Work?
If you’re looking to lose some pounds quickly for an upcoming occasion or a wedding event, then the 3 day military diet menu is the best weight loss plan out there.
But, if you’re looking for long term results, then this three day diet may not be for you. Instead, we recommend the Ketogenic diet plan for such needs.
The best way to lose weight and maintain it is by changing your lifestyle (healthy eating habits). It is the only recommended way to stay fit for a longer period of time.